Dear Eartha, What can I do to conserve energy in 2024?
As we bid farewell to another year and welcome the promise of a new one, it’s essential to reflect on our habits and choices that impact the environment. In the era of climate change and growing ecological concerns, there’s no better time to make resolutions that prioritize energy conservation. Here are a few ideas to add to your list of New Year’s resolutions to contribute to a more sustainable and eco-friendly 2024.
Get a home energy assessment
Information is the key to action, and that’s what makes a home energy assessment so important. After all, how can you save energy if you don’t know where you’re wasting it in the first place? During an assessment, a trained building analyst will take an in-depth look at your home and offer recommendations that conserve energy. Sign up for an assessment by contacting the High County Conservation Center or enroll online at HighCountryConservation.org.
Seal and insulate your house
The cleanest energy is the energy we don’t use. Sealing up gaps where warm air can escape and adding insulation are the most effective ways we can stop losing heat and save energy in our mountain climate. Grab that caulk gun and weatherstripping, or hire an expert and get to work.
Unplug and turn off
Make an iron-clad commitment to smart energy habits in 2024. That means turning off lights when you leave a room, setting back the heat when you’re asleep or away from home and unplugging electronics when not in use. Electronic devices use small amounts of electricity all the time whenever they’re plugged in, even when powered down. Getting a few smart power strips around the house makes this effortless!
Be water smart
Water heating typically accounts for 10% to 15% of home energy usage. Practice water saving habits all the time to save both water and energy. Take shorter showers, don’t let the faucet run when doing dishes or brushing your teeth, only run a full dishwasher and wash clothing and dishes with cold water whenever possible.
Convert to electric appliances
Electricity is the path to a clean energy future. That’s because fossil fuels can’t get any cleaner, but our electric grid can and already is. Xcel Energy, the largest utility provider in Summit County, has a goal to provide its Colorado customers with 80% renewable electricity by 2030, and it’s already at 42%. If you have gas appliances you’re considering replacing, like stoves, clothes dryers, water heaters and furnaces, commit to an all-electric alternative that can be powered by the sun or wind with zero emissions. With available rebates, you could even spend less up front for the electric options while saving money on your bills with greater efficiency. There are even electric fireplaces that put off heat and look great!
Run on renewable
Make 2024 the year you transition to renewable electricity sources. Install solar panels on your roof through the Solarize Summit program, or if that’s not feasible, consider subscribing to a community solar garden. By relying on clean, sustainable energy, you contribute to reducing reliance on fossil fuels and combating climate change. Done in tandem with a move to electric appliances, you’ll be directly offsetting your home energy usage with clean power.
Put your money where your mouth is
Do some research on the banks and institutions that currently house your money, and if they are heavily vested in fossil fuels, put your money somewhere with more sustainable values. Even better, invest in the clean energy industry!
Share your voice
One of the most impactful things we can each do to help conserve energy is to spread the word! Talk with your friends about energy-saving practices and the commitments you’ve made. Advocate for energy efficiency and clean energy policy. Vote for leaders who support the clean energy transition. And support local companies and organizations dedicated to energy conservation.
When we resolve to do something, we are making a promise to ourselves to follow through. These promises should be treated with a sense of seriousness bordering on the sacred. You don’t have to do everything at once — pick a few energy saving resolutions that you know you can improve on this year, and follow through to make 2024 your most energy-conserving year yet!